«All of the races are different. Just because they’re different doesn’t mean anybody’s better or worse than anybody.» Netflix has launched the full-length trailer for David Ayer’s fascinating new film Bright – which is a Netflix Original production, starring Will Smith, set in a different world where other creatures like orcs and elves co-exist with humans. It’s also a bit like Training Day, it seems, because Smith plays a cop assigned a partner who’s an orc and he just doesn’t like him. Joel Edgerton co-stars under the make-up as «Nick Jakoby», and the full cast includes Noomi Rapace, Kenneth Choi, Brad William Henke, Lucy Fry, Edgar Ramírez, Ike Barinholtz, Brandon Larracuente, and Dawn Olivieri. So this actually looks surprisingly damn good, I’m serious. The first half of this trailer starts a bit slow, but when everything kicks in mid-way through — wow. I’m seriously impressed. I really want to see this movie. What about you? ›››
Watch David Lynch in his element as he discusses his process and directing his 2006 film Inland Empire.
There’s precious little footage of David Lynch directing, though there have been articles—like this one, by David Foster Wallace, that followed the director on the set of Lost Highway.
But a recently surfaced clip from the documentary Lynch: One sees the director discussing his craft and facing depression, and depicts Lynch as he directs what would become one of his most controversial and experimental films of all time: Inland Empire.
Of his usual process, Lynch says, «Before you start shooting, you have done all that not-knowing, and catching ideas and hooking them together—and going this way and getting that idea and hooking them together, throwing that out and getting new ideas. Then, you have a script and you know what you’re going to do.»
Not so here, with Inland Empire, where the director says the process is different. «It’s scene by scene. Not knowing, but shooting [anyway].»
The Straight Story: David Lynch’s sweetest movie is also one of his most challenging
David Lynch‘s The Straight Story opens with a view of a starry night sky. As we gaze at (into? through? beyond?) these stars we become aware of quiet, ethereal music, floating in our subconscious like something recalled rather than heard. There’s a faint echo of Laura Palmer‘s theme. Of course there is. Laura’s out there somewhere, a little light from a distant dimension burning in our present. She belongs in this particular patch of sky, shining over Laurens, Iowa, a small town not unlike Twin Peaks, with a similar community of faintly absurd, lost souls…and its fair share of ghosts. We’ll see all that clearly soon enough but for now we’re looking at stars, reflecting on the fact that we’re looking at the past, that each star is a pinprick of bright, dead light, haunting the darkness of our present.
Suddenly we are hovering over a front lawn in hot afternoon light. The grass is almost oppressively bright. An obese woman fries herself on a recliner under the glare of the sun. Nothing about this scene is comfortable. Colors are shouting at us but it’s oh so quiet. So quiet. We begin to descend, at a slow, slow, creeping pace, very gradually advancing over the lawn and up to a darkened side window. Whose eyes are we looking through? Some sort of spirit? Death? That’s the natural assumption. We’re re-visiting the opening of ‘Blue Velvet’, surely, this time with a dash of Halloween. This stealthy creep around the outside of the house almost exactly retraces the steps of the young Michael Myers as he spies on his sister…his prey. Are we here to spy on prey? Are we here to kill? Just as we ask ourselves this question we find ourselves staring intently at the deep shadows behind the kitchen window. We hear something drop to the floor, followed by a heavy thud. Someone has fallen. Our presence has been felt.
We expect to be disorientated this early in a David Lynch film but we don’t necessarily expect to feel this strong sense of intimately inhabiting the insidious spirit of mortality. We soon realize that in doing this we are in fact inhabiting the spirit of the protagonist.
When we finally see Alvin Straight lying on his floor, resisting the help of neighbors, we are struck by the mix of self-awareness and defiance in his face. He knows exactly what is wrong with his ailing body – he can sense it. But he does not want anyone else to make a fuss about it. He feels that as long as he can maintain it as his own silent certainty he can control it. The moment he accepts help, practical, medical or otherwise, it will become something bigger than him. His world needs to remain small, secretive. We will see several heartbreaking glimpses of this secret world as we get closer to him.
When Alvin’s daughter, Rose, returns home to find him still lying on the floor, with two neighbors looking increasingly pathetic and defeated, she naturally panics. Now, this is Sissy Spacek playing a woman who has remained essentially child-like. Her look of confusion and raw desperation as she brings her hands to her face belong to the world of horror, the world of Carrie. Thus a moment of great truth also becomes a moment of modern Gothic.
This scene epitomizes the way in which The Straight Story works. The story itself is remarkably true and the characters wonderfully real and while reflecting all this truth the film manages also to appear full of illusion and allusion. We see this at the key moment in which the plot, such as it is, is kicked into action. Alvin and Rose are sitting together in their front room as a dramatic storm flashes outside. In the expert hands of cinematographer Freddie Francis this is a Hammer movie storm, melodramatically enhancing an atmosphere of dread and assaulting the unquiet soul of this little house with restless spirits. The phone rings. We sense it is something ominous. So does Alvin. As Rose takes the call we watch Alvin’s intense features, a granite mask of certainty. He knows it is worrying news. He knows it concerns his brother. He knows this even though there has been no communication between them for the past ten years. He knows this because he is the insidious spirit of mortality. The spirit whose eyes we were looking through in the garden as he crept stealthily up on himself. The spirit who understands the precise nature of the relationship all those in his consciousness have with death and loss. Thus when Rose tells him his brother Lyle has had a stroke there is no flicker of surprise. Instead there is the vivid lightning flash of certainty and resolution (is this storm really taking place or is it a Lynchian illusion, an apt expressionistic psychological projection?). He knows simply that he and his brother must be reunited. The time has come to make a journey.
Now anyone who knows anything about this film knows that this journey is the stuff of legend. The real Alvin Straight traveled hundreds of miles from Iowa to Wisconsin on a tractor lawn mower. In Lynch’s symbolic hands this becomes a mythical odyssey through a haunted autumnal world. The vehicle in the film is a 1966 John Deere model. It has history. It has aches and pains. It is a shadow of its former self. It literally has great hills to climb. Man and machine are one. The insidious spirit of mortality will creep along The Great Open Road and everyone who encounters it will feel both a tug of compassion and a chill of recognition. Isn’t that just like life? This is the wonderful metaphor Lynch offers us. Riding his mechanical steed of gritty determination and gradual triumph, Alvin is both a questing medieval knight and a manifestation of the Reaper. It is no accident that his journey is punctuated by images of harvest. He gathers the souls of everyone he meets, not to claim them but to consider them for a while with the penetrating eye of his spirit, to draw from them their darkest truths. He leaves them slightly shaken but also emboldened, their sense of life and purpose re-affirmed.
You really need to watch or re-watch these encounters for yourself to get their full emotional weight. I want to focus just on one moment of Alvin’s journey to highlight the lightness of Lynch’s quintessential touch in this film. This is the moment when Alvin begins to notice cyclists flitting past him. At first it is the odd little streak of movement. Then Alvin gets off his mower, turns to get a full view of the long road and watches as a great stream of them rushes past him, each one with the almost intangible appearance of a wisp. They seem to have organically materialized out of the landscape, carried on the wind. There is a suggestion of the miraculous about them. There is certainly a sense of life, of energy, of youth. Alvin regards them with a wistful mix of admiration and yearning. He watches them all go by. And then he climbs back on his steed and sets about slowly catching up with them. Much later in the day, as he pulls in to the field where they are setting up camp, we see them gathering round him, applauding. Now it is their turn to be full of admiration. But, we reflect, is there not also perhaps a slight sense of fear? Here, after all, is the steel-willed spirit of time and age, triumphantly trumpeting the inevitability that he will catch up with all of us in due course.
That is of course the point. But it is also the point that this moment is seen as a celebration. Ultimately it is the life that remains in Alvin that matters. It is that life that is being recognized, however compromised, however frail, however wrapped in darkness. The fire in Alvin’s soul blazes out of his beautiful eyes and lights everything around him. What still remains of the life in the leaves on the autumn trees burns with a rich, deep, strong flame. This is a film that slows us down until it aches to move. It forces us to be still while we think thoughts we don’t want to think, about grief, about time, about age, about weakness, about death. It forces us to creep up to our own side window and stare into the darkness at ourselves. But then as we look it assaults our eyes with simple, elemental images of such beauty that we feel our appreciation of life being refreshed, enriched by our brush with the spirit of mortality. This is a parable about the harvest which teaches us that walking in step with the reaper is the way to move through life. In short Lynch achieves the kind of spiritual transcendence in this film that Terrence Malick was reaching and straining to achieve with The Tree of Life.
Nowhere is that sense of transcendence more powerful than in the overwhelming final scene. If you have not seen the film I will not ruin it by giving anything away. What I must say is that in an ideal world people would watch The Straight Story as the second part of a double bill with my favorite film of all time, Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas. The connections would unfold slowly, beautifully, at a rich and very gradual pace, until finally this last scene would hit us as the near miraculous, revelatory epiphany at the end of a remarkable journey.
One could write separate essays on Richard Farnsworth’s extraordinary performance and Angelo Badalamenti‘s vital score, which, perhaps more than with any of the composer’s other organic collaborations with Lynch, is the heart and soul of the film. Let that provoke discussion! For now I have said enough. If you have not already experienced this film then rest assured it will catch up with you. That time will come. And you will feel your heart lifted when it does. Lifted by what is probably the most gentle, beautiful, truthful, compassionate horror film in history.
Videos and transcripts from Milch’s legendary 2001 and 2007 WGA series.
In September 2010, I ran a week-long series featuring key excerpts from a memorable series of presentations in December 2001 by David Milch at the WGA Theater in Beverly Hills. Then I stumbled upon this: An entire series available on YouTube called The Idea of the Writer by Milch from a second WGA presentation, this one from December 2007. Since Milch is both an amazing writer and thinker about writing, each day this week I will reprise my posts featuring transcript excerpts from Milch’s 2001 presentation and embed videos from his 2007 series.
Television credits (as creator)
- Beverly Hills Buntz (1987–1988) — co-creator, writer, producer of this Hill Street Blues spin-off
- Capital News (1990) — co-creator, writer, producer
- NYPD Blue (1993–2005) — co-creator, writer, executive producer
- Brooklyn South (1997–1998) — co-creator, executive producer
- Total Security (1997) — co-creator, writer
- Big Apple (2001) — creator, writer, executive producer
- Deadwood (2004–2006) — creator, writer, executive producer
- John from Cincinnati (2007) — co-creator, writer, executive producer
- Last of the Ninth (2009) — creator, writer, executive producer
- Luck (2010) — creator, writer, executive producer
- The Money (2014) — writer, executive producer
Awards and recognition
- 1993 Emmy Award, Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series (Hill Street Blues)
- 1994 Edgar Award, Best Episode in a Television Series Teleplay (NYPD Blue, “4B or Not 4B”)
- 1995 Emmy Award, Best Drama Series (NYPD Blue)
- 1995 Edgar Award, Best Episode in a Television Series Teleplay (NYPD Blue, “Simone Says”) (shared with Steven Bochco and Walon Green)
- 2006 Austin Film Festival, Outstanding Television Writer Award recipient
Not to mention the 259 episodes of “N.Y.P.D. Blue” he’s credited with writing.
I did this post back in July that featured some great video of Milch sharing his thoughts about writing. At the time, I noted this:
What leaped to mind when I read the news about the new HBO series was a series of presentations Milch gave at the WGA Theater several years ago. They were covered and excerpted in the fine WGA journal “Written By” over the course of several months. I remember reading them, both fascinated and inspired by Milch’s ideas.
I contacted “Written By” and they have kindly offered to create electronic versions of the original hard copies, so I can excerpt them on GITS. Look forward to that sometime soon.
Here are some of Milch’s comments from those presentations at the WGA Theater from back in 2001, excerpted from the “Written By” journal. Part 2:
A psychiatrist will tell you — well, a psychiatrist won’t tell you shit. But in psychiatric terms, the psyche is differentiated into the ego sense of self, the id — which is everything that gets us jammed up — and the super ego, which is the idea of form, or structure, or the accommodation in the world for our behavior. And the super ego is the internalization of the parental voice. Now, it’s obviously an oversimplification. But in particular, a writer — for reasons we will get to in another part of this discussion — stands in a particular kind of doubleness, typically, in his or her emotional makeup, toward experience. Stands both within it comfortably, and, for whatever combination of reasons, stands outside it. That’s the cards you’re dealt. That’s what predisposes you to be a writer as well as predisposes you to be a few other things.
Often, that doubleness is caused by a traumatic association with the idea of form. Here’s a for-instance. The Irish are regarded as a great storytelling people and also as a country full of drunks. There’s a reason for both reputations. It’s a tough country — weather’s tough, they had a lot of problems. One way you learn the doubleness that is typical of the writer is that you are both within the [tavern] and you’re standing outside wondering where the next punch is coming from.
The second maxim that I can give you, the thing that I always try to communicate to an aspiring writer, is that no one can teach you anything that you don’t already know, and each of you has, in your heart, the capacity, when encouraged by a benign organizing presence, to identify the deepest truths of the human story.
That last line is great takeaway:
…no one can teach you anything that you don’t already know, and each of you has, in your heart, the capacity, when encouraged by a benign organizing presence, to identify the deepest truths of the human story.
Day 2: David Milch on The Idea of the Writer.
For Part 1, go here.
Tomorrow Part 3 of “The Idea of the Writer” with David Milch.
‘Equalizer’ director Antoine Fuqua was attached to the project, before dropping out due to scheduling conflicts.
David Fincher and Brad Pitt are reteaming for World War Z 2
Rumored last year before the project vanished from the Paramount Pictures release calendar, World War Z 2 appears to have found a helmer in none other than David Fincher! Although World War Z 2 has not yet been given the official green light, today’s report in Variety suggests that confirmation is imminent and that Fincher will be taking the director’s chair, reteaming him with star Brad Pitt. Production would likely begin in early 2018.
Fincher’s sole sequel credit to date was his feature film debut, 1992’s Alien 3. Far more common is his work with Pitt. Fincher has thrice directed Pitt: in 1995’s Se7en, 1999’s Fight Club, and in 2008’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Fincher’s most recent feature, however, was 2014’s Gillian Flynn adaptation Gone Girl.
The first World War Z followed United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Pitt), who traverses the world in a race against time to stop a pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself. The cast of the original also included Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, Matthew Fox and David Morse.
Despite production problems and an expensive reshoot of the film’s third act, the first World War Z was a big hit worldwide with $ 540 million. The film, based on Max Brooks’ novel, was directed by Marc Forster on a $ 190 million budget. The sequel is being produced by Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Ian Bryce and Skydance‘s David Ellison.
How do you feel about David Fincher taking the director’s chair on World War Z 2? Is there anything specific from the original book that you’d like to see brought to the screen? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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David Goyer and Eliza Dushku developing The Black Company books for television
IM Global Television has announced development on The Black Company, an adaptation of Glen Cook’s books, a fantasy series with Eliza Dushku’s Boston Diva Productions and David Goyer’s Phantom Four.
Boston Diva Productions optioned the ten-book epic action fantasy series, as well as the forthcoming book, Port of Shadows, which falls between Book 1 and 2 in the series and will be published by Tor Books in 2018. Dushku (Dollhouse, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) will portray the pivotal role of the dark sorceress, “The Lady.” Under IM Global Television’s first-look deal, David S. Goyer (Da Vinci’s Demons, Flash Forward) will executive produce along with Kevin Turen (Birth of a Nation, All Is Lost, Arbitrage). Also on board as executive producers through their Boston Diva company are Dushku, Nate Dushku, and Ami Lourie, along with Sam Maydew (Ghetto Klown) of Silver Lining Entertainment.
IM Global Television President Mark Stern said, “Glen Cook’s books turn the traditional fantasy adventure tropes on their ear with wry, dimensional characters and a modern sensibility. We’re excited to explore this intricate and exciting world for television with David and Kevin along with Eliza, Nate, Ami and Sam.”
Dushku added, “’The Black Company’ is vast in scope yet remains fundamentally relevant through the morally ambiguous choices it presents at every turn. We are excited to bring Glen Cook’s classic story to life with Mark and David, luminaries in the cinematic pursuit of science fiction and epic fantasy, who will inevitably assemble poignant characters embroiled in jaw-dropping action.”
The series follows the exploits of the Black Company, an elite mercenary unit that carries out the often nefarious deeds of the highest bidder across a Tolkeinesque landscape. When these hard-bitten men discover the prophecy that the embodiment of good has been reborn, they must re-examine their loyalties. “The Lady,” who rules over the Northern Empire, uses the Black Company to further her domination of a power structure rife with usurpers. Additional casting will be announced in the coming weeks.
The book series began with The Black Company in 1984 with Cook having since published eight additional novels, a spin-off, several short stories, and with two more books forthcoming.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
The post David Goyer and Eliza Dushku Developing The Black Company Books for Television appeared first on ComingSoon.net.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, screenwriter and director shares his advice on how to write great stories.
Glengarry Glen Ross. The Untouchables. American Buffalo. The Verdict. Wag the Dog. Oleanna. Many writers can create great dialogue, but only one inspired the adjective «Mametesque.» And yet, to focus only on David Mamet’s brilliant dialogue in his plays and screenplays is to miss the much bigger picture that Mamet is a master at crafting intricate tales that don’t waste a beat.
Now, Mamet wants to share his perspective on writing stories with his own MasterClass for only $ 90, joining previous MasterClass teachers Steve Martin, Aaron Sorkin, and Shonda Rhimes.
David Oyelowo Joins Jacob Estes’ Blumhouse film Only You
Blumhouse is gearing up for its newest film Only You from writer Jacob Estes, who will both write and direct the project. Deadline is reporting that Selma star David Oyelowo has just been cast in the film. Though there is little information about Only You yet, it’s being called a thriller involving time travel.
Jason Blum from Blumhouse will produce Only You. Executive producing are Oyelowo, Couper Samuelson, Jeanette Volturno and Jay Martin. Blumhouse has had major successes in recent days with Get Out, which is the second-highest grossing horror film of all time after 1973’s The Exorcist. M. Night Shyamalan’s Split is another recent success for Blumhouse.
Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo is known for playing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma and appearing in Nightingale, for which he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie and a Golden Globe for Best Actor, Lee Daniel’s The Butler, The Queen of Katwe and Jack Reacher. He’s also known for voicing the role of Agent Kallus in the animated series Star Wars Rebels, which was renewed for a fourth and final season, as announced at this weekend’s Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, Florida. Oyelowo received a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama for his role in Selma.
Estes is known for writing and directing the short Summoning, as well as the film Mean Creek, which won two Independent Spirit Awards and a Humanitas Prize. He’s also written The Details, starring Tobey Maguire, Laura Linney, Kerry Washington and Elizabeth Banks. He wrote the screenplay for Paramount Pictures’ Rings.
Are you guys excited to see what Only You has in store? What Blumhouse film is your favorite? Are you happy about the casting of David Oyelowo? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @ComingSoonnet.
The post David Oyelowo Joins Blumhouse’s Only You from Jacob Estes appeared first on ComingSoon.net.
The Cannes 2017 lineup has been announced, featuring VR and TV for the first time.
Every year, the Cannes Film Festival celebrates the world’s finest auteurs in the south of France. This year’s lineup is no different, boasting the likes of Abbas Kiarostami, Agnes Varda, Andrey Zvyagintsev, Josh and Bennie Safdie, Sofia Coppola, Michael Haneke, Noah Baumbach, Lynne Ramsay, and more.
This year, the traditionally purist festival is venturing into new territory, finally embracing virtual reality and television—albeit from established directors. For the first time, the festival will screen a virtual reality film from none other than Alejandro G. Inarritu. Top of the Lake Season 2 and the Twin Peaks revival will screen from Jane Campion and David Lynch, respectively.
OPENING NIGHT FILM
Ismael’s Ghosts, dir: Arnaud Desplechin (Out of Competition)
70th ANNIVERSARY EVENTS
Top of the Lake: China Girl, dirs: Jane Campion & Ariel Kleiman
24 Frames, dir: Abbas Kiarostami